Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Isolation-Themed Books by Genre

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. This week’s prompt is a genre freebie! I decided to focus on isolation-themed books broken down by their genre.

Hello Readers! I hope you are all staying healthy and safe. How are you all doing? Have you been able to read more, or are you like me and too distracted? We’ve also been staying busy getting our house back in order from having new floors installed. So while I haven’t been reading as much, I have been spending time reorganizing my bookshelves, which is always fun. 😉 My husband is taking this time to build me a shelving system, too, so I’ll probably have a dedicated post about that soon! <3

I had quite the debate this week over whether to embrace the chaos or ignore it. I decided to do a mixed bag of sorts. I’ll be offering up ten genres and some isolation-themed books from them. Some I’ve read and some from my own TBR. Happy Reading!


Historical Fiction

Synopsis: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe right now you’d like to be reminded of the good aspects of isolation. If you haven’t read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (don’t let the name dissuade you!), now may be the time to pick it up. Charming and delightful, this one will leave you smiling and hopeful.

Alternate choice: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter



Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe in times of stress you’d like to be reminded that it could be worse. The Martian will have your heart pumping as you live vicariously through the most isolated situation a human can endure.

Alternate choice: The Host by Stephenie Meyer



Synopsis: The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.

As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph—the human capacity for change.

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe now is the time to pick up those classics you’ve been meaning to read! To the Lighthouse will have you looking inward and swooning over the exquisite language and descriptions.

Alternate choice: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway



Synopsis: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe when life is already stressful, you like to pile on the stress?? Horror is about the last genre I want to read right now, but if it’s your thing, go ahead and dive in. Pretty much any Stephen King novel will work here.

Alternate choices: Misery, The Long Walk, The Stand by Stephen King


Young Adult

Synopsis: You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe you’d prefer a young adult book that deals with isolation? I haven’t read We Are Okay yet, but I’ve heard great things! Here’s a more upbeat alternate choice:

Alternate choice: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson



Synopsis: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems. 

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe you’re looking for a thriller to distract you and consume you! I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR.

Alternate choice: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane



Synopsis: In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of  Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and, unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw away the maps. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe you want to pick up some non-fiction that deals with the real-life experiences of people in isolation? Read Into the Wild as more of an instruction on what NOT to do while in isolation. Here are some more hopeful options:

Alternate choices: Wild by Cheryl Strayed or Educated by Tara Westover



Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . . 

Amazon / Goodreads

Maybe you’re one of the few people who hasn’t read The Handmaid’s Tale yet?? Personally, reality is scary enough at the moment, but if you’re the kind of person to laugh in the face of fear, here are a couple of apocalyptic options.

Alternate choice: The Last One by Alexandra Olivia or Wool by Hugh Howey


Literary Fiction

Synopsis: Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. 

Amazon / Goodreads

The Light Between Oceans has been recommended to me so many times, and it’s on my shelf, so there’s really no excuse for not having read it yet. Maybe now is the time. (Both of my options here could be considered historical fiction, as well.)

Alternate choice: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


Books that feature a quarantine

Synopsis: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Amazon / Goodreads

Station Eleven was high up on my TBR for this year, but I’m afraid it’ll get pushed back down the list. I’m not sure if I’m eager to read books that feature quarantines. Maybe they would be inspirational?? If you’ve read this one, let me know what you think! Here’s an alternate book featuring a quarantine that I have read and enjoyed:

Alternate choice: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Have you read any of these yet? Do you plan on embracing the idea of isolation in your books or socially distancing yourself from them? 😉 Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

34 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Isolation-Themed Books by Genre”

    1. Hmm. You know I could totally be confusing All the Light We Cannot See with The Light Between Oceans, also. People are always recommending that one to me, too. 😉

    1. Yeah, I can see why Atwood would call it that. Unfortunately, it showed up on every ‘apocalyptic literature’ list I looked up and I couldn’t resist. 😉

    1. I was the same! I finally read The Shining on Halloween of last year, but it had been on my shelf for a long time. Honestly, I think I liked the movie better. 😉

    1. Oh I loved the film, too!

      Yes, it’s hard to choose right now. Do we acknowledge the elephant in the room or use this time to block it out?? I have a feeling my choice will change from day to day. 😉

    1. Oh, Guernsey would be a great choice right now. It was the sweetest book, and I loved the film, as well, so you should love the book! <3

  1. Ooh, I totally love your unique take on the genre freebie, Dedra! Station Eleven has been on my TBR for aaages and I’ve been thinking about picking it up soon. Same goes for We Are Okay. I think that’s been on my TBR cart for like… 9 months now 🤣 I hope you enjoy the ones you haven’t read! Great post 😀

    1. Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t read Station Eleven! I’ll be eager to hear what you think about both of them when you get to them. 🙂

  2. Great list! We are on a “stay at home” order. It’s been about a week and a half and I’m going a bit stir crazy! I’m glad that your floors are finished though! I have been reading like normal but found that I’m having a tougher time with fantasies at the moment!

    My TTT!

    1. We’re in a “stay at home” order now, too. So far we’ve had lots to keep us busy, but I know the day is coming when we’re all caught up. I was able to finish the arc I was reading, but only by forcing myself to sit on the couch and finish it. 😉 I think I’ll try to stick to contemporary romance for a bit–something that takes less brain power. Ha! Stay safe and well. <3

  3. I love Station Eleven and have been thinking about it a lot during this time. It’s such a sad yet overall hopeful story. And I’m definitely going to have to read a few of these. 🙂 Great list!

    1. I’ve been seeing it recommended everywhere right now. Maybe I’ll give it a try?? If I’m brave enough. I’ll definitely read it someday. <3

    1. I enjoyed both the film and the book. Of course there were things in the book that didn’t make the film, so some of it would be new to you. 😉 Audiobooks aren’t my favorite. I tend to be more visual, so I need to see the words. I hope you get to pick it up!

  4. Great list! While I did my TTT post on books featuring pandemics in honor of the craziness going on right now, I don’t think I could actually read any of them now! I’ll save them for later. The one exception is Station Eleven: I’ve been told that one is about what happens after, and right now looking ahead to “after” is important for me. Otherwise I’m too likely to get bogged down in the now and all the things that have changed without looking forward to how things will be better later. But… we’ll see. For the moment, I’m concentrating more on feel good books.

    1. Same here! I’m sticking to lighter reads, although I seem to be in a bit of reading slump at the moment. I have to force myself to sit down and read. There are just too many distractions–in my head and out of my head. <3

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